Wednesday, 1 January 2014

2014: 50 Things to Do

Ten things (0/10) 
1. Reread 10 books
(Maskerade, Guards! Guards!, Unseen Academicals, Raising Steam, Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies, River of Gods, Frost Bitten, Good Omens, Broken Homes)
2. Read 10 new books
(Raising Steam, Counselling for Toads, Night Broken, Republic of Thieves, The Sparrow, Foxglove Summer, Necroville)
3. Write 10 reviews
4. Write 10 drabbles
5. Cook 10 meals
(pancakes, kievs, meatloaf, pasta bake)
6. Learn 10 words in a foreign language
7. Watch 10 new movies
(The Machinist, Thor: The Dark World, American Hustle, The Rum Diaries, RoboCop, Underworld: Evolution, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Limitless, Godzilla, Monuments Men, Transformers 4)
8. Listen to 10 new albums
(Tricky, Show of Hands, Goldray, Lamb, Younger Brother, Shpongle, Tron OST, Tori Amos, Thea Gilmore, Blackbeard's Tea Party)
9. Take 10 interesting photos
10. Send 10 random postcards/letters

Attempts at culture (5/5) 
11. Go to the theatre
(The Winter's Tale, Cats)
12. Go to a new museum
13. Go to a new gallery
(Tate Modern, Photographer's Gallery, National Gallery)
14. Go to a new restaurant
(Persian, Huck's, MakiYaki)
15. Go to a concert/gig
(Goldray at Water Rats, Lamb at Roundhouse, Blackbeard's Tea Party)

Creativity (3/5)
16. Practice calligraphy once a week
17. Learn a sewing or knitting skill
18. Find a themed monthly write and attempt some
(Daily Writing Prompts)
19. Learn some nail art skills
20. Learn a new recipe

New things (8/10)
21. Visit a new city
(Glastonbury, Shrewsbury)
22. Visit a new country
(Marrakech)
23. Play a new video game
24. Try a new food
(Pork pibil. Bleh. Plantain. Pate)
25. Try a new drink
26. Get a new tattoo
27. Buy a new bed 
28. Play a new board game
(Munchkin, Dominion, Best of British, Pandemic, Flux)
29. Give a new tv series a go
(Spaced, Breaking Bad)
30. Learn a new skill

Personal Growth (5/5)
31. Keep a CBT diary
32. Regulate spending habits
33. Attend therapy and work on coming off the anti-depressants
34. Do a random act of kindness each week
35. Make a point of meditating when feeling low

Healthy Living (2/5) 
36. Lose 10lbs
37. Do at least 20 sit-ups and 20 press-ups once a day
38. No more cigarettes
39. Utilise weights in once a week yoga
40. Drink more water

Miscellaneous (6/10) 
41. Go to karaoke
42. Cut down on alcohol intake
43. Finish counselling course
44. Look into further counselling courses
45. Try and talk to a faraway friend on phone/Skype at least once a fortnight
46. Stop playing Candy Crush!
47. Cook Greg a steak (yes, he suggested this)
48. Go to the zoo
49. Go to a theme park and go on the best rollercoaster there
50. Go to a folk festival
(Shrewsbury)

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Year in Review: Resolutions 41-50

Miscellaneous (6/10)

41. Complete a video game 
So close but not quite. Darn you, FFIX.

42. Go to the dentist without prompting 
This, I did. Ick. Still not got a local dentist, but since Mum now works at a dental surgery there doesn't seem much point.

43. Relearn French 
Ha, non. No time.

44. Attempt a new craft 
Nope.

45. Play more board games 
In this household? Not easy to fail. I have definitely, definitely played more board games!

46. Make a ten year dream plan (that's still realistic)
Hahaha. I can't even plan next month.

47. Bake someone a birthday cake 
I made Neil a honey and whiskey cake. That totes counts.

48. Make sense of my wardrobe 
Sort of? I like to think I have a Style now.

49. Have a Skype night to chat to faraway friends 
Failed at this. D'oh.

50. Remind the people important to me how much they mean to me
I think I did this? But there's always room for improvement on this one ♥

Year in Review: Resolutions 31-40

Personal Growth (2/5) 

31. Avoid paranoia bouts 
I've been trying, I really have. And I think I've been improving, but it's very hard to tell ><;;

32. Stop being over-sensitive 
See above. But this one I think I'm counting it as a fail.

33. Make financial plans 
See above... I did start off with the best intentions, but things kinda went to hell. Better luck in 2014.

34. Do a random act of kindness each week 
Now this, I think I do. I don't always keep track, but I do think generally I'm quite a good person for things like this.

35. Keep a more regular journal 
Again, I started, then I failed. Then I started again. Then I failed again. Gimme a break, it's been a rough year.

Healthy Living (4/5) 

36. Lose 10lbs
Hahahaha, no.

37. Try and eat a cooked meal every day 
...thank you, Jay...

38. Take up yoga again 
I try and do a little each day, so I'm taking this as a win.

39. Get some weights 
Well, nicked them off of Neil, but I have them!

40. Drink more water
Yep, for the most part I remember to do this. I take at least one bottle of water/squash with me to work and drink that throughout the day, and try to start the day with a glass of water too.

Year in Review: Resolutions 21-30

New things (7/10) 

21. Make a new friend 
Mostly at work, but yes, I have :)

22. Start a conversation with a stranger 
Did this a couple of times actually! Talked antiquing with a guy on the train, and days off with the Sainsbury's checkout lady. Then there're the two ladies on my commute who I now regularly have little conversations with.

23. Do something I've never done before 
Hm. This is a very open-to-interpretation resolution. I mean, I got dumped by someone I thought I loved, heck, I fell in love, those were new to me. But doesn't smack of getting out there and doing something. I traveled for work to the other side of the country (ish) and went to meetings as the sole representative of my department. I went to the doctor about seeking help for my depression. I started dating someone from work. I petted Bengal cats (my new babies, Greg just doesn't know I'm catnapping them yet...). I attempted fifty resolutions! I mean, I failed, but still... Oh, I know! I started an online learning course. Never done that before :)

24. Visit a city I've never been to before
Do Bristol and Exeter count? I had to go for work...

25. Watch an indie movie
Er, I don't think so?

26. Eat something new 
Vietnamese food. Mexican 'street food'. Gravlax. Yeah, I kinda cheated on a few of these, didn't I?

27. Drink something new
Glayva. And hibiscus water (Greg will remind me of its name, I'm sure).

28. Wear something I wouldn't normally 
Hm, a lot of my wardrobe has changed in the past year or so. Hopefully for the better? But I've worn a lot of skirts and dresses for work, and mixed it up a little in terms of my 'casual' clothes. I've also been a little bit more interested in make-up and experimenting with what looks good on me.

29. Write something I wouldn't normally 
FAIL.

30. Read something I wouldn't normally
There are few books I'd put in this category that I've read this year. I wouldn't have picked up Ender's Game under my own steam, but I really enjoyed it (even if the author is a homophobic douchenugget). I've also got Dominion on the go at the moment.

Year in Review: Resolutions 11-20

Attempts at culture (5/5) 

11. Go to the theatre 
Went to a few things with the lovely Lauren, my theatre buddy. We saw One Man Two Guv'nors, and Jeeves and Wooster. Oh, and Moby Dick!

12. Go to a new museum 
Can you believe I'd never been to the Science Museum? For shame. Was great fun but too much to truly take in on one visit. Also went to the Greenwich Observatory, which I loved.

13. Go to a gallery
I dragged Neil to the Southbank Light Show, which I thought was really good. Went to the Serpentine galleries with Hannah (bit hit and miss at the time for me - I may not know art, etc.). And Greg and I went to an awesome big sculpture exhibit done by the Saatchi Gallery in the old post office near Shaftesbury Avenue. That was amazing, with some phenomenal sculptures using various media.

14. Try new food 
Eh. Does having new types of curry from our usual Indian place count? Well, that's not fair, I went to a Vietnamese restaurant and had something other than pho for once. Greg fed me gravlax (fancy salmon) and Joe and Hannah at work fed us mint-chocolate Pringles and cinnamon Pringles. The cinnamon ones were actually really tasty (though few agreed with me).

15. Go to a concert/gig
Not quite... but I went to Eddie Izzard's Force Majeur in May at Wembley, so I'm totally counting it. It was brilliant, naturally.

5/5, hi-five me! Maybe too easy, but tempted to do the same again for 2014.

Creativity (2/5) 

16. Try a themed write every month 
Big fat effing fail. I should be ashamed of myself.

17. Learn some recipes and feed people with them 
Now this I did. Admittedly, not as much as I should have, but still. I made meatloaf a lot, cooked my first roast dinner, even baked a couple of times!

18. Have a go at letting Neil teach me guitar 
Yeah... I had a go, so I can tick it off, right? Turns out, guitar is hard, and poor Neil isn't a teacher. Or at least, isn't a good enough teacher to teach someone as crap as me. Which is a shame, as it was nice to bond over.

19. Pick up some crafty skills 
Pfft. Next?

20. Remember to blog!
Aha. No.


2/5. MUST TRY HARDER.

Year in Review: Resolutions 1-10

Ten things (7/10) 

1. Reread 10 books 10/10 
Easy peasy. I reread quite a few this year, in part because a lot of new books in series I follow came out and it meant I wanted a reread.

2. Read 10 new books 10/10 
Also fairly easy. There were quite a few awesome books out this year, from Scott Lynch to Patricia Briggs to Terry Pratchett. Neil got me reading Ender's Game and The Name of the Wind, and the book collection at work introduced me to some new books as well.

3. Write 10 reviews 4/10 
A big fat fail. Which is ridiculous, given how many new Lush products I used, plus the new make-up ranges I've tried. Then there're movies I've seen, shops I've visited... yeah, I need to pull my finger out in 2014.

4. Write 10 drabbles 0/10
Zero. I SUCK.

5. Write 10 random blog entries 10/10
Only with the help of that blog-a-day challenge. Did I mention I suck?

6. Learn 10 new words 10/10 
Don't necessarily remember all of them right now (Jay just taught me 'roister', which is fun!), but I did seem to pick up a few new vocabulary bits this year :)

7. Watch 10 new movies 10/10 
Geez, way more than 100, mostly thanks to Neil putting aside all the movies I'd not seen from his collection and us working through most of them. Sad I won't get to finish the pile, but there we go. It certainly helped me complete this resolution.

8. Listen to 10 new albums 10/10
Bless the Spotify home page with its suggestions based on what music you already like. Discovered a lot of new artists this way, plus Greg has got me hooked on a few.

9. Take 10 interesting photos 10/10
'Interesting' may be relative, but I've certainly taken more than 10 photos this year that I've liked.

10. Send 10 random postcards 7/10
Not quite. I started off with good intentions, and did send some letters as well, but I've not been as good with communicating with people as I'd wished at the start of the year.


7/10, not too bad... could be better though. I don't think I'm going to change many of these for 2014 - just try harder on the ones I failed on.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

End of Year Meme

What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
Um... not a lot. Went on antidepressants. Oh, got dumped :P Oddly, in that order :P Enjoyed a film in 3D. Signed up for a distance learning course. Did an open-top bus tour.

Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?Some of them. And probably.

Did anyone close to you give birth?Bloody hell, everyone. Katherine, Saz, Becky... Su and Kristin overseas but still thought of often. All kids are happy, healthy, and utterly gorgeous. Looking forward to going home and seeing Noah and Elodie at Christmas.

Did anyone close to you die?Benji-cat. I miss him.

What countries did you visit?Not a one. How depressing. Morocco in January though!

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?Less misery. More happiness. Comfort. A cat. Money. Stability. Travel.

What date(s) from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?Hmph. 9th August. And mind your own damn business. 28th October - I got a Hannah for a week!

What was your biggest achievement of the year?Not sure I have one. God this year sucked. I did my job and I did it well.

What was your biggest failure?My relationship. Hoping better things for my current one though.

Did you suffer illness or injury?Depression, still. It sucks. Had a few colds. Can't remember anything else of note.

What was the best thing you bought?I'm dead pleased with most of my Christmas presents for people this year. Shame I'm now flat broke...

Whose behaviour merited celebration?My friends. Jay, always, for being wonderful and kind and funny and supportive and for giving me hugs and feeding me. Hannah, for livening up my year with a visit from Japan, and reminding me how much I miss her. Bex for being my awesome work buddy and cheering me up when I need it. Greg for putting up with me and being good to me (and buying me clothes yesterday) and just generally being wonderful and caring for me <3

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?Eh... my own from time to time. A few people at work who need a slap. Politicians, but that goes without saying. I'd love to say my ex's, but I just plain can't be mad at him.

Where did most of your money go?I have no idea. Let me know if you find out?Nah, mostly on train fares, depressingly. And clothes. And an alarming amount on food given how little I eat.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?Bex's wedding :) The Republic of Thieves being published. Neil. Catching Fire being released. Hannah visiting. Giving Christmas presents. Meeting Greg's cats. And then just Greg :)

What song will always remind you of 2013?Applause - Lady Gaga. And December in New York - Thea Gilmore, not from 2013 but listened to a lot. And Cup of Coffee - Garbage.

Compared to this time last year (2013), are you:
i. Happier or sadder?
Sadder, mostly. But it's getting better with some help from loved ones.
ii. Thinner or fatter? About the same. Dammit.
iii. Richer or poorer? Poorer, stupid commuting.

What do you wish you'd done more of?Travelling. Laughing. Saving money.

What do you wish you'd done less of?Commuting. Crying. Spending money.

How did you spend Christmas?I will be spending it at home with the parents and Grandma. Will be weird without Benji-cat. But I'm looking forward to some peace and quiet and the break from work. Also looking forward to team Christmas dinner tomorrow afternoon, and then Dominion Road Christmas on Saturday :)

What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in 2013?Uh... not sure? While I do embarrass easy I can usually forget it fairly quickly. Possibly crying in the office. Not once, but twice. D'oh.

Did you fall in love in 2013?Eh, touchy question. I was in love in 2013. Bit soon to say for falling again, but ask me again next year :P

How many one-night stands?None. I fail.

Favourite TV show?South Park. And Sherlock. Obvs. But also Only Connect, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Fresh Meat and Great British Bake Off.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?Just me. Skinny jeans and layers, for the most part.

What kept you sane?Friends. Jay. Greg. Shaman and Chi.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?No...? Well, sort of someone at work, but let's face it, everyone's aware of that one.

What was the best book you read in 2013?The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch!!!!!!!11!1!!! Ohmygod, I can't even. So much love.

What was your greatest musical discovery?Imagine Dragons... was that this year? Yeah, think so. And Hungry Lucy.

What did you want and get?Jay made mince pies and peanut butter cups and other nommy things that I wanted! And I got a gingerbread advent calendar.

What did you want and not get?Uh... happiness? I'm still working on it, I guess.

What was your favourite film of this year?Um... Despicable Me 2 was brilliantly funny. Gravity was beautifully shot. Hunger Games: Catching Fire had Jennifer Lawrence being a kickass heroine in skintight wetsuit. Don't get me wrong, I loved the film as a film, and it adapted from the book well, but I have such a weakness for JLaw <3

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?I was 29 and I spent the day travelling to Essex and the evening at Bex's wedding :) She was beautiful and it was a good night.

What three things would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?Having some savings. Not getting dumped. Getting a raise XD Having a cat.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?Jennifer Lawrence. She is flawless and I love her.

What political issue stirred you the most?Same sex marriage, because people who are against it are against it for the most pathetic reasons and it makes me angry.

Who did you miss?Hannah. Especially after she left London to go back to Japan! Benji-cat ;_; Mike, always and forever.

Who was the best new person you met?Greg. Obviously :)

What is a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013?Ups and downs are intertwined. Don't love too hard. Only I can help with my depression.

What quote can be used to sum up your year?Once bitten, twice shy.